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Mario Batali and Restaurant Group to Pay $600K to 20 Employees in Sexual Harassment Settlement

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Celebrity chefs Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich have been ordered to pay $600,000 to 20 people who were sexually assaulted while working at the pair's restaurants, according to court documents.

On Friday, a four-year investigation by New York State Attorney General Letitia James found that Batali, 60, Bastianich, 52, and their management company B&B Hospitality Group violated state and city human rights laws.

The investigation reported that at least 20 employees "witnessed or personally experienced unwanted sexual advances, inappropriate touching, and sexually explicit comments from managers and coworkers, and several female employees were forcibly groped, hugged, and/or kissed by male colleagues," according to James.

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The incidents took place at the Manhattan restaurants Babbo, Lupa and Del Posto.

RELATED: Mario Batali Leaves Restaurant Empire Over a Year After Sexual Assault Allegations Surface

"Batali and Bastianich permitted an intolerable work environment and allowed shameful behavior that is inappropriate in any setting," James told The New York Times. "Celebrity and fame does not absolve someone from following the law."

In addition to the payouts, the agreement states that their restaurants must revise their training materials involving anti-sexual harassment and discrimination and submit biannual reports to James' office to certify compliance.

"The past few years have truly been a transformative period," Bastianich said in a statement to The New York Times. "Including the pandemic, there have been a lot of lessons learned over the past three and a half years, and it has given us an opportunity to redefine our business and the culture we want to foster within our restaurants, emerging as the company we want to be."

RELATED VIDEO: Celebrity Chef Mario Batali Accused of Sexual Misconduct by Multiple Women

RELATED: Mario Batali Leaves Restaurant Empire Over a Year After Sexual Assault Allegations Surface

Batali, a former Chew co-host, was first accused of sexual harassment and assault in December 2017. Eater reported the famed chef allegedly groped four different women and engaged in inappropriate touching spanning two decades, and another accuser subsequently claimed on 60 Minutes that he drugged and assaulted her while she was unconscious in 2005.

"I woke up by myself on the floor, I don't know where I am, of an empty room, wooden floor," said the woman, who said that she was an employee at Babbo at the time. "I see broken bottles. The first thing I think is, 'I've been drugged.' That was the first thing I thought is, 'I've been — I've been assaulted.'"

Batali previously admitted that he had been "deeply inappropriate" in the past and apologized, but denied allegations against him.

Batali told the Times that he would not comment on the settlement.

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